Before its closure, pupils and staff at Beyton Middle released scores of balloons into the air – a fitting testament to the school’s soaring ambitions and the broad horizons it has created for many.
For headteacher Anne Gardner, the school’s achievements and traditions are too numerous to mention.
From the talent show to the eco club plus enrichment activities, staff pantomime, Christmas fair, sporting success in local and national competitions, themed days and charity fund-raising events, Beyton has offered a kaleidoscopic array of educational diversity.
With a 42 year history, its roots run deep through the community and it is well supported by parents – many of whom attended the school as pupils with happy memories and stories to tell.
Mrs Gardner said: “It has been a privilege to have been headteacher at Beyton despite the many challenges of school reorganisation.
“I am particularly pleased with our Key Stage 2 SATs this year as they are one of the best sets of results we have ever achieved.
“The staff have maintained their drive to improve standards and have demonstrated incredible commitment in the face of so many changes. They are to be credited for their hard work, resilience and their desire to secure the best outcomes for our pupils.”
Beyton originally opened as a secondary modern but was reorganised in 1972 to become a middle school under the comprehensive system.
Its first headteacher was Frank Whitnall followed by Nick Beasley from 1993 to 2004 and Andy Nicholson from 2004 to 2012.
Mrs Gardner, who has led the school for two years, said: “It has not always been easy to maintain the drive for improvement when there are so many external pressures associated with closure.
“However, my leadership team have supported me with the development of initiatives which have continued to benefit our pupils. We have developed our nurture group provision, introduced enrichment time into the curriculum, developed our marking policy and changed our system of rewards.
“As a closing school we have treated all our pupils as ‘leavers’ and as such we have implemented a programme to support them with transition and to acknowledge their achievements at Beyton.”
The school has a number of staff who have dedicated long service to Beyton with Jane Edge, Angela Dale, Johanna Brown, Teri Tanner and Marian Philips all working at the school for more 25 years.
Rob Francksen, assistant headteacher, was a pupil at the school and says he is ‘very proud and privileged’ to be a part of the school’s learning community as pupil and teacher.
Of the 33 teaching staff currently employed, 14 have jobs to go to after Beyton closes – 11 of them will continue to work within Suffolk.
Of the 47 non-teaching staff employed 12 have secured work.
Mrs Gardner added: “I believe Beyton is a good school where every child is valued and has the opportunity to achieve.
“Our SATs results reflect our ambition to succeed and I am very sad that reorganisation takes away our future as a highly valued middle school within the local community.”